A heartbreaking yet beautiful story out of earthquake-ravished central Italy deeply moved me, and I’d like to share it with you.
About 15 hours after last week’s 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck the town of Ascoli Piceno, firefighters were desperately searching for survivors among the ruins. Suddenly, a rescue dog signaled that he smelled something.
Rescuers soon found a doll … and two young sisters caught in a life-saving embrace.
Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole shared the story of Giulia and Giorgia during a funeral Mass for 35 of the 290 people killed in the earthquake.
“The older one, Giulia, was sprawled over the smaller one, Giorgia. Giulia, dead, Giorgia, alive. They were in an embrace,” D’Ercole said, according to news reports.
Giulia was only 9 years old when she gave her life to save her 4-year-old sister.
If you’re a parent, it’s hard not to read a story like this and immediately think of your own children – their laughter and teasing, their love and arguments. I also go back to my own siblings, who in many ways helped raise me after my parents were gone.
It’s tempting, sometimes, to dismiss the sibling relationship as not as important or formative as others. This story is a reminder that we shouldn’t do that.
Brothers and sisters are often the ones who will walk with us throughout our entire life journey, remaining with us after our mother and father leave this world for the next. In that way, siblings are like a gift parents give their children: They know us from our start because they understand where we’ve been. They share our memories.
In many ways, it’s our siblings who shape us.
So for those families with kids struggling with sibling rivalry, stay the course. Encourage your children to love, appreciate, and be there for each other.
Do you have a sibling who has helped shape your life? I’d love to hear about it. You might consider paying tribute to them in the comments section.